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In a Breton fishing town, children come across the body of little Elodie, 10. She has been strangled. Frédérique Lesage (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), a young, recently promoted inspector, starts by questionning René (Jacques Gamblin), an art teacher and the last person to have seen Elodie alive. Although René, and above all, his wife Viviane (Sandrine Bonnaire), a visiting nurse, are accepted in the village, they aren’t "natives". Rumours about René become increasingly harsh and he ends up losing all his pupils. Viviane struggles against the rumours. She even goes so far as to confront the young inspector. A second violent death finally paralyses the town.